Emergency plan a must for Porirua families

Editorial

BY MATTHEW DALLAS
Last updated 09:34 13/11/2012

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OPINION: The findings of the Wellington Region Emergency Management preparedness survey make for concerning reading.

According to the survey of 937 people, Porirua is lagging behind other cities in the region when it comes to preparedness for a natural disaster.

It would be one thing if Hutt, Wellington and Kapiti residents were extremely well-prepared and we were just "very well prepared" but some of the figures for the most basic tools of survival - water, food and first aid - are very average.

Of course, after reading the report I found my own level of preparedness wanting in a multitude of areas. That water container in the corner of my office - I know I was supposed to empty it back in May and refill it with fresh water. But did I?

Some of the expectations of the emergency management gurus are pretty ambitious, if not unrealistic. I'm not going to dispute the recommended level of preparedness - it's their area of expertise - but when you realise, say, how much water 15 litres a person for 10 days actually is, it's hardly surprising so many households are falling short.

Barely 40 per cent of Whitby-ites said they had enough stored water to get by for 10 days, and the figure didn't reach 60 per cent in any of our communities.

But we're talking about 200 three-litre bottles of water required to meet the needs of a family of four.

This was noted in the survey report, which felt the figures were likely to be inflated due to respondents failing to accurately quantify how much of the wet stuff was required.

Barring Whitby's lacklustre performance, there were few surprises in which of our neighbourhoods struggled when it came to owning first aid kits, canned food and other essential supplies. Affordability remains a barrier and it must be addressed.

And do we dare look closer? Do the households with emergency supplies actually have quality, comprehensive stores? Or did they scoff at the thought of spending a week's wage on something they may never use and instead purchase a budget- priced dinky kit that would "tick a box" but little else?

The most concerning stat of the survey concerned the action of preparedness that doesn't cost a cent; having a plan on where to meet family after an earthquake. Who gets the kids? Is Nana's house more central than ours?

Given the number of Porirua people who work in other cities and send their children to out-of-town schools, it's alarming that about half of our residents have made no such arrangements.

Please, consider it your homework tonight.

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